John Dunton (1656-1733)


Life
b. Graffham [var. Grafton], Huntingdonshire; son of chaplain to Henry Ingoldsby who became Gov. of Limerick shortly in 1659; apprenticed to Thomas Parkhurst, bookseller, 1671 [aetat. 15]; later became a Puritan English bookseller and commercial visitor to Dublin; sometimes called the ‘father of English journalism’; fnd. The Athenian Gazette; he was ‘a huge lover of travels’;
 
Dunton hosted Jonathan Swift’s earliest publication; attacked Lords Oxford and Bolingbroke in Neck or Nothing, and made a fruitless appeal to George I; issued The Dublin Scuffle (1699), concerning his grievance against a Dublin bookseller Patrick Campbell; also authored an epistolary work in manuscript, ‘Teague-Land, or a Merry Ramble to the Wild Irish’ and “A Tour of Ireland”, held in the Bodleian Library;
 
both deal with the visit of this Puritan English bookseller to Dublin; issued num. pamphlets, frequently berating Lord Jeffreys, the ‘hanging judge’ of Taunton, and may himself have been involved in Monmouth rebellion; first m. Elizabeth Annesley, who managed his affairs, and after whose her death he remarried. ODNB OCIL FDA

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Works
Irish titles
  • The Dublin Scuffle, or The Billet Doux Sent By a Citizen’s Wife in Dublin Tempting Me to Leudness ([London] 1699) [details], and Do. [rep. edn.], Andrew Carpenter, ed., The Dublin Scuffle (Dublin: Four Courts 2000), 350pp. [contents];
  • A Tour of Ireland, Bodleian Library MS Rawlinson D. 71. ‘Teague-Land, or a Merry Ramble to the Wild Irish’, first printed in Edward MacLysaght, in Irish Life in the Seventeenth Century (1929; reprint 1950), pp. 320-91.
  • Teague Land, or A Merry Ramble to the Wild Irish (London: 1698), [25 cm.; contents], and Do. [facs. edn.] ed. & intro. by Andrew Carpenter (Dublin: Four Courts Press 2003), 190pp. [details]
 
See also The Popish Champion, or, A compleat history of the life and military actions of Richard Earl of Tyrconnel, [1689], under Richard Talbot [q.v.]
 
Sundry titles (sel.)
  • The Ladies Dictionary: being a general entertainment for the fair-sex - a work never attempted before in English (London: Printed for John Dunton [... &c.] 1694), [1] leaf, [6], 528pp., 8°;
  • The Informer’s Doom, or, An Unseasonable Letter from Utopia Directed to the Man in the Moon: giving a full and pleasant account of the arraignment, tryal, and condemnation of all those grand and bitter enemies that disturb and molest all kingdoms and states throughout the Christian world: to which is added (as a caution to honest country-men) the arraignment, tryal, and condemnation of the knavery and cheats that are used in every particular trade in the city of London / presented to the consideration of all the tantivy-lads and lasses in Urope [sic] by a true son of the Church of England. ( London : Printed for John Dunton, 1683), 2], 160pp., ill.
  • A Satyr upon King William: being the secret history of his life and reign / written by a gentleman that was near his person for many years [3rd edn.] (London [i.e. Dublin?]: [s.n.], Printed in the year 1703), [13], 51pp. [imprint may be false; possibly printed in Dublin; variously attrib. to Defoe or Dunton].
    [Anon.,] Religio bibliopolæ: or the religion of a bookseller: which is likewise not improper to be perus’d by those of any other calling or profession (London: printed, and sold by T. Warner 1728), [8], 111, [1]pp., 8°.
  • The Life and Errors of J.D. late Citizen of London: written by himself in solitude: with an idea of a new life wherein is shewn how he’d think, speak, and act, might he live over his days again ... With the lives and characters of a thousand persons now living ... Digested into seven states, &c. (London 1705), 1-463, 200-251pp.; 8° [Register of Preservation Surrogates].
  • Tom, the Water-Drinker [pseud. for John Dunton], Bumography: or, A touch at the lady’s tails, being a lampoon, privately, dispers’d at Tunbridge-Wells, in the year 1707. By a water-drinker [...] Also, a merry elegy upon Mother Jefferies, &c. (London 1707), 8°.
  • Philo-Patris [pseud. for John Dunton], Royal gratitude; (or King George’s promise never to forget his obligations to those who have distinguish’d themselves in his service) critically consider’d. In a letter to ... Robert Walpole, ... Written by that person of honour that sent Mr. Dunton those early discoveries of Oxford’s and Bolingbroke’s treason, ... To which is added, the high-church gudgeons (London: printed by R. Tookey, and are to be sold by S. Popping 1716), [2], 54, [8]pp., 8°.
  • Athenianism: or, the new projects of Mr. John Dunton [...] being, six hundred distinct treatises (in prose and verse) written with his own hand; and is an entire collection of all his writings, both in manuscript, and such as were formerly printed. To which is added, Dunton’s farewel to printing. [...] With the author’s effigies, to distinguish the original and true copies from such as are false and imperfect. [...] To this work is prefix’d an Heroick poem upon Dunton’s projects, written by the Athenian Society; with an alphabetical table of the several projects / [by Dunton, John]. (London: Printed by Tho. Darrack [...] and are to be sold by John Morphew ... &c. 1710), [2], xiv, [16], 224, 360pp., 8°. [Note: Contains only 24 projects; no more published. "Dunton’s farewel to printing" also never appeared; Nat. Library of Scotland.]

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Bibliographical details
The Dublin Scuffle
, Being a Challenge sent by John Dunton, Citizen of London, to Patrick Cambel, Bookseller in Dublin, Together with the Small Skirmishes of Bills and Advertisements. / To which is Added, The Billet Doux, sent by him to a Citizen’s Wife in Dublin, Tempting him to Lewdness, with his Answers to Her. / ALSO / Some Account of his Conversation in Ireland, Intermixt with particular characters of the most Eminent Persons he Convers’d with in that Kingdom; but more especially in the City of Dublin. / In several letters to the spectators of this scuffle; with a Poem on the whole Encounter. London (Printed by the Author) and are to be Sold by A. Baldwin, near the Oxford-Arms in Warwick Lane, and by the Booksellers in Dublin. 1699. [Epigraph:]  “I wear my pen as others do their Sword” (Oldham).

Andrew Carpenter, ed., The Dublin Scuffle (Dublin: Four Courts 2000), 350pp.: CONTENTS: Introduction [I-xxx: Note on the Text; Short Titles of Books Frequently Cited; Acknowledgements]; The Dublin Scuffle [1]; The Billet Doux [119]; My Conversation in Ireland [149]; Remarks on My Conversation in Ireland [271]; Notes; Appendix. Index.

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Teague Land, or A Merry Ramble to the Wild Irish (London: 1698), and Do. [facs. edn.] ed. & intro. by Andrew Carpenter (Dublin: Four Courts Press 2002), 190pp. CONTENTS: 1st letter - Maynooth, Clonard, Mullingar, Athlone, Galway; 2nd letter - Iar Connacht; 3rd letter - On the road from Connamara to Dublin; 4th Letter - Naas, Newbridge, Kildare, The Curragh; 5th Letter - from Dublin to Malahide and back; to Drogheda; 6th Letter - Dublin and its surroundings (I); 7th Letter - Dublin and its surroundings (II).

Andrew Carpenter, ed. [transcribed] & intro., Teague Land, or A Merry Ramble to the Wild Irish, with an essay on John Dunton and Irish folklore by Ríonach uí Ógáin (Dublin: Four Courts Press 2003), 190pp.

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Criticism
Gilbert D. McEwen, The Oracle of the Coffee House: John Dunton’s Athenian Mercury (Huntington Library 1972); Stephen Parks, John Dunton and the English Book Trade: A Study of His Career with a Checklist of His Publications [Garland Reference Library of the Humanities, 40] (NY: Garland Publ. 1976).

See also Frank McNally, “An Irishman’s Diary” [on John Dunton], in The Irish Times (30 May 2009) [see extract], and several other extracts as quoted in Commentary, infra.

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Commentary
R. F. Foster, Modern Ireland (Lane 1988) p.136, citing The Dublin Scuffle; Conversation in Ireland; and ‘Teague-land, or A Merry Ramble to the Wild Irish’, and remarks, ‘one of the most illuminating commentators ... despite a fondness for the prurient.’

Constantia Maxwell, ‘John Dunton’, in The Stranger in Ireland (1954), [Dunton] arrived Dublin 1698; father of English journalism; went to America also; Life and Errors (1705), includes Dublin material; actors ‘in no way inferior to London’ at Smock Alley; ‘a huge lover of travels’; visits to “savages” in Athlone and Westmeath; offered cottage-hosts money and was refused ‘because they were gentry ... which I was ignorant of’; visits the O’Flaghertie; did not like Ireland; delighted at hospitality, but deplores barbarous nature of the people; calls keening a ‘horrid cry’.

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James L. J. Hughes, ‘Dublin Castle in the Seventeenth Century: A Topographical Reconstruction’, in Dublin Historical Record [Journal of Old Dublin Society]; Vol. II, No.3 (1940): ‘John Dunton, who came to Dublin in 1698 and left in December of the same year, mentions the broad staircase which is not in the Battle Axe Hall [itself constructed by Ormonde in 1661]; six of his letters are calendared in Analecta Hibnerica, vol. ii, and a portion reads: “The Castle was encompassed with a wall and dry ditch, over which was a drawbridge and within that an iron gate within which two brass cannon were planted and tere are others on top of one of the towers. The house was handsome, but not magnificent.’ [... &c.]’, p.86.

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Frank McNally, “An Irishman’s Diary”, in The Irish Times (30 May 2009): His [Dunton’s] fame rests chiefly on a magazine he founded, The Athenian Gazette (later The Athenian Mercury, which took its name from St Paul’s description of the Athenians as people who loved “to hear or to tell some new thing”. / First published on St Patrick’s Day, 1691, it introduced several journalistic innovations, including the question-and-answer column (and the convention of inventing the questions). It gave Swift his public debut. [...] He was often appalled in Ireland, particularly by the lack of hygiene. Irish cabins, he claimed, “are as spacious as our English hogsties, but not so clean”. And Irish morals were almost as bad. “Such things as chastity, wit, and good nature are only heard of here,” he said of Dublin; while, after being robbed in Kilkenny, he commented: “Here is such a den of pick-pockets that I think the thieves of Drogheda are saints to them.” [...] But on the whole, despite himself, he could not help feeling some affection for his hosts. “I take the Irish to be a people well humour’d and open hearted,” he wrote generously, “and very capable of good impressions if a prudent care be taken to manage them”. / Dunton needed prudent management himself. This he got from his first wife: an excellent organiser who took care of all his affairs during what were, not by coincidence, his golden years. Then she died, unfortunately. [...; &c.; see full text in RICORSO Library, “Criticism / Reviews”, infra.]

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References
Sir John Gilbert, History of the City of Dublin (1854), quotes Dunton’s Dublin Scuffle in his account of Smock Alley; see also var. other works on the early Irish stage.

J. S. Crone writes of John Power’s Inquirer, No. 3 (Dec. 1865) that it contains ‘an amusing account of John Dunton and his early Dublin Book Auctions’. (See Irish Booklover, Vol. I, No. 1, Aug. 1909, “Our Forerunner” [article on Richard Power].)

New Dictionary of National Biography: The NDNB article is by Helen M. Berry who wrote Gender, Society, and Print Culture in Late Stuart England: The Cultural World of the Athenian Mercury (Ashgate 2003).

Internet: There is a Wikipedia article on Dunton [online] with another related to it on Teague-land, or A Merry Ramble to the Wild Irish (1698), which includes information about the 2003 Four Courts reprint edition [online; 24.06.2009].

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Quotations
Colonel Butler: His letter dedicated to The Honourable Colonel Butler, A Member of the House of Commons of Ireland relates a ‘piece of injustice first committed, and then defended by my adversary [Patrick Campbell], who has armed himself with impudence and malice, and manages his attack by fraud and forgery; as I have made sufficiently clear in the following sheets’ [3]. Dunton later speaks of himself as ‘happy in some measure by Patrick’s emnity, which gives me this opportunity of letting the world know that Colonel Butler is my friend’. (Signed London, 20 Feb. 1698/9.)

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Report of a Sermon (1689)
Ecclesiasticus de won-and-forties shapter and turd vearse: Nolito, metuere judicium mortis; memento quæ to ante fuerunt et qua, superventura sunt tibi; hoc judicium a Deo omni carni.
Deare Catolicks, you shee here de cause dat is after bringing you to dis plaace: ’tis come bourying you are de core, de cadaver, of a eerie good woman, God knows!, fwom cruel deat hate devoure. And for because it would not be deshent nor handsom to put underground like one of de vulgus or commonality de sheild of her faader and mother (fwose souls God rest in Heaven!), I am here as you shee to doe my one function and occupaation at dis time; and dat I may doe woordy of de holy caracter I beare, and for the good of your souls, help me, deare Christians, to cal upon Holy Mary, Mooder of God. Ave Maria, &c.
  Nolito metuere judicium mortis, &c. Fwen de first man and voman God did shend upon de vorld did doe dat fwich deir Holly Maker did forbade ’em, and eate a poore shilly bits of apple dat vas not of woort tree straws, dey dereby were lost Paradis, and all the recreaations of dat sweet plaace. Shure enuff, deir hearts were heavy and shad enuff, to be turned out of it; for, Catolicks and Cristians, vould not none of yourshelves be much grieve to be trust out of your one houses or possessions? — aldough none of you have, or ever shave, such a garden as dat; beshides, deat was another paine added to deir punishment. Well, fwat vould you have of it. Deir hearts were full, full of shadness and sorrow, and God de Faader, sheeing deir contrition, told of deir comfort, de sheed of de voman should break de sherpent’s head - quod semen mulieris frangeret caput serpentis, as it wid the original. Now, fwo voud it be but Blessed Mary Virgo Shempiterna, Mooder of Savior Jesus Christ, Queen of Heaven, to fwom, and before fwom, all angells, kings, and queens doe bow down and do vorship. [...] (Rep. in Alan Bliss, Spoken English in Ireland 1600-1740 [...] (Dublin: Cadenus Press 1979), pp.133-37, here pp.133-34; from MS [Bodleian].]

[Vide, Vulg.: Sirach Ch. 41, v.5: Noli metuere judicium mortis: memento quæ ante te fuerunt, et quæ superventura sunt tibi: hoc judicium a Domino omni carni. / Fear not the sentence of death, remember them that have been before thee, and that come after; for this is the sentence of the Lord over all flesh.] (Note that Bliss annotates Ecclesiasticus as Ecclesiasticis - i.e., King James for Doai versions, &c.)

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Notes
Patrick Kennedy has a chapter on ‘Doughty John Dunton in Dublin’ in Modern Irish Anecdotes (n.d.), pp.27-29, giving a narrative taken from John Gilpin that relates how the ‘literary mission man’ [Dunton, acc. Kennedy] was crossed by a bookselling rival, Pat Campbell and aired his grievance in a pamphlet; adds that R. R. Madden, in Periodical Literature bewails the obloquy brought on the country by the selfish Pat, ‘Dunton, though he could not wreak his vengeance on the head of Pat Campbell the bookseller, revenged himself a good deal on the soil, the sky, and the people of Ireland’. Kennedy goes on to defend Irish women from his insulting references to their fat.

Obliterated: In a life of Elizabeth Heywood completed by Theo. Rave[?, the latter obliterated the subject’s connection with John Dunton. (Cited orally by Sarah Prescott at Arts Conference, Goldsmith College, London, 1998.)

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